The environmental pioneer John Muir spent most of his adult years living and working on a fruit ranch outside of Martinez, California. His entire domestic life unfolded among the orchards. Yet, repeatedly and explicitly, he rejected the ranch as his true home, claiming instead a spiritual affinity with the Sierra wilderness. That response famously helped launch modern, wilderness-oriented environmentalism, but less noticed was its role in closing an earlier horticultural movement that promoted the combined economic and environmental development of the landscape. Muir’s in-laws, John and Louisiana Strentzel, typified the horticulturalists. Contrasting how the two generations made their homes in the natural landscape demonstrates the diversity of environmental thinking in nineteenth-century California and reveals how much Muir left behind in turning toward the mountains.
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Research Article| August 01 2013
John Muir’s Orchard Home
Pacific Historical Review (2013) 82 (3): 335–361.
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David Hickman; John Muir’s Orchard Home. Pacific Historical Review 1 August 2013; 82 (3): 335–361. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2013.82.3.335
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